Press Review

The unveiling of a Franz Kafka statue in Prague, photo: CTK

The government's plans for pension reform, the withdrawal of the Czech field hospital from Basra and the unveiling of a Franz Kafka statue in Prague have all received front page coverage in Lidove Noviny. Pravo has highlighted the shaky position of Foreign Minster Cyril Svoboda within his own party, while Mlada Fronta Dnes carries a detailed front page report on Transport Minister Simonovsky's proposal to get tough with undisciplined drivers.

The unveiling of a Franz Kafka statue in Prague, photo: CTK
The government's plans for pension reform, the withdrawal of the Czech field hospital from Basra and the unveiling of a Franz Kafka statue in Prague have all received front page coverage in Lidove Noviny. Pravo has highlighted the shaky position of Foreign Minster Cyril Svoboda within his own party, while Mlada Fronta Dnes carries a detailed front page report on Transport Minister Simonovsky's proposal to get tough with undisciplined drivers.

In today's Lidove Noviny commentator Jaroslav Plesl slams the government's pension reform proposal as "half-baked". The government is still avoiding the key issue, refusing to come to terms with the fact that people will simply have to bear part of the financial responsibility for their retirement, Plesl says.

The pension reform proposal still needs a great deal of fine-tuning but the main idea is that every citizen would have a state-controlled pension account which he could check out and decide whether or not he wants to work for a few more years in order to increase his pension. "The way things are - if you are under 36 today - you could still be working at 73" Pravo warns readers.

As the Czech field hospital pulls out of Iraq, Lidove Noviny prints a letter from Challaf Al Manshidi, an Iraqi politician who takes the opportunity to thank Czechs for the humanitarian mission - but who also adds - it is a great pity you are leaving when you are so badly needed.

The papers all note that the Czech Republic's ambassador to Kuwait Jana Hybasova was sacked for saying much the same thing in far less diplomatic terms. In Lidove Noviny the former foreign minister - now senator - Josef Zieleniec says that Jana Hybaskova's assessment of the situation was perfectly correct -pulling the field hospital out of Iraq was a very bad decision - she was simply not in a position to make such a statement publicly, the senator says.

In principle the foreign ministry cannot be faulted for recalling her, but having said that, we should not lose sight of the fact that Mrs. Hybaskova is one of our best diplomats: enthusiastic, open and totally dedicated. Paradoxically, these qualities cost her her job, says Josef Zielenec.

St. Nicholas, photo: CTK
On a lighter topic - the papers all carry plenty of Xmas related reports on how much people are spending on presents, what this year's Xmas hits are, tried and tested Xmas recipes and advice on where to go and what to see in the Xmas season.

Pravo has an early photograph of an exclusively Czech tradition - the coming of St. Nicholas accompanied by an angel and a devil. This spectacular trio can be seen all over the country on the eve of St. Nicholas' Day - i.e on December 5th. visiting children to find out if they have been good all year. They carry small gifts for those who've been good and a bag of coal for little rascals.

In any case -all hell will break lose tonight -and angels, devils and St. Nicholases in all shapes and sizes will have pride of place on Saturday's front pages.